Donna Alward | When the Man in Uniform is a Woman...
August 26, 2012
When I started planning out my FIRST RESPONDERS series, I
knew that the first book was going to feature a sexy paramedic, the second would
have a cop, and the third a fireman. What I didn't know was that when it came
time to write IN THE LINE OF
DUTY, that cop would end up being the heroine rather than the hero.
This was a big surprise for me. When I thought about a series for "Men in
Uniform" it was always men. I mean, the whole idea was that I find a man in
uniform uber-sexy! But no matter how I tried to work a plot, a character arc,
anything to do with this story, it wasn't a man I saw. It was a very fit, very
determined, very guarded female RCMP officer.
So a girl Mountie named Kendra Givens was it. She makes a small appearance in OFF THE CLOCK, the first
book in the series, but IN
THE LINE OF DUTY is really her story.Â She's a good cop, but she's got some
baggage of her own.Â The story opens with her responding to a break and enter
call at Jake's Pub. And she really has a thing against Jake Symonds, the pub
owner and ex-soldier.
Jake stands for everything she detests. And if that weren't bad enough, she had
to arrest him a few years back when he caused a disturbance dressed in nothing
more than his underwear. The comments he made while in the back seat of her
cruiser still make her blush. But there's something more, too. For a few moments
that night, there'd been something in his eyes she recognized - and she HATES
I had a chat with my brother in law recently and he made the assertion that
modern women don't want manly men. They want to prove they're strong and
independent and want a man who is all about feelings. I disagreed. Yes, we can
be strong and independent but we also want to be loved, protected, understood.
We want to know that when the chips are down our man is going to have our back.
That when the world crumbles around us, there's a strong partner there to hold
Kendra is as independent as it gets, but she needs Jake. She needs his strength
and his compassion andÂ she needs someone to challenge her when she would give
up. She doesn't need a girlfriend. She needs a partner.
Here's an excerpt:
She clung to him as the tears she'd been holding in came rushing
out, wetting his shirt front. She cried for the girl in the car, for the
devastated parents, for the loss of an innocent, young life, and even for
herself. She hated feeling helpless, powerless. She'd become a cop for that very
reason. But tonight she'd been cruelly reminded that she was indeed helpless and
powerless. That bad things happened to good people who were just driving home
from work. No one had been talking on a phone or driving under the influence or
speeding. All they were guilty of was getting caught in a thundershower and
hydroplaning on the highway.
It was humbling to realize that ten minutes of bad weather could cause that much
death and destruction.
Weak and weary, she pushed out of Jake's arms. "I think I need to sit down," she
murmured. He held her hand as they went to the sofa, an unexpected point of
connection that felt good, comfortable. She looked up at him sheepishly. "I went
off the rails there, didn't I?"
"A bit. Sounds like you've had a trying night though. Sometimes it helps to get
"I threw up in the ditch."
The confession made him smile, and that fed the tiniest bit of warmth into her
"I'm sorry for before. For yelling at you. For demanding...well, you know."
He squeezed her fingers. "Demanding a drink? Yeah, well, it was pretty obvious
something was very wrong. I couldn't do it. Not knowing what I do, you know?"
She shivered, afraid of what she'd done, disturbed by the realization that she'd
totally lost perspective. Afraid of why she'd done it—because she'd
felt like she needed it to get through another hour. "Do you think I could be
addicted like my mom? That...if I'd started I wouldn't have stopped?"
His gentle smile faded as he looked her fully in the face. "I don't know a lot
about addiction. But I do know that you reached your limit tonight. That
something about that girl tipped the balance for you. Extreme things drive
people to extreme actions. Doesn't mean you're somehow predisposed to be an
She wasn't convinced. "Doesn't mean I'm not, either." It would be the worst
thing for her, and she was lucky it had been Jake on the bar tonight. Lucky he'd
stopped her from self-destructing. A lot of bartenders wouldn't have. "If I'd
gone through with it, I could have lost my career. Everything."
"I told you once before that I know when to stop serving." He smiled again and
leaned back against the cushions. It looked so inviting that she sank into them
too, resting her head against the soft top of the sofa, curling one leg
"Maybe," he suggested, "what you went looking for wasn't a drink after all.
Maybe it was me."
That idea was nearly as dangerous as the other as far as she was concerned. She
wasn't looking for a romantic connection. Wasn't interested in dating. She
didn't want anything serious, and the day on the beach had shown her she didn't
really want a fling either. Besides, Jake wasn't the serious type. He'd been
around the block a time or two. And she was unbelievably green when it came to
intimacy—emotional or sexual. It would be a bad idea all around, wouldn't
"That's quite a leap," she answered, trying to sound glib. She wasn't sure she
succeeded. Especially when Jake answered.
"I'm not so sure it is," he replied, "but I don't think you're in the frame of
mind to discuss it now."
Silence filled the room. She probably should go, but her emotions were still
churning, and she didn't quite trust herself to go home alone and not fall
apart. She'd responded to a lot of calls over the past few years, but none of
them had been a fatality. "It is a terrible thing," she whispered, "to watch the
life go out of someone. To see them take their last breath. I wasn't prepared."
Her throat began to close up again, and the last words sounded strangely thick.
"No one is ever prepared for that." Jake put his hand on her knee. "First
"Yeah," she breathed. Her eyes stung again and she blinked furiously. She really
didn't want to cry again.
"Do you have to go back? Or are you off duty now?"
"Good. Come here."
Jake reached out and gripped her vest, deftly unzipped it and shoved it off her
shoulders, then unclipped her belt. She felt oddly light without both and
watched, fascinated, as he took them and laid them carefully over a nearby
chair. Maybe he was right. Maybe she had come looking for him, for the simple
reason that she thought he might understand. He'd been on several deployments.
She knew without asking that he'd seen things. Done things. Especially after the
haunted look in his eyes when they'd returned from the beach. Jake had his share
of dark secrets.
You can snag the book at
amazon, BN.com and also via Samhain Publishing's store. I'm giving away a copy today to
a lucky commenter!
65 comments posted.
Re: Donna Alward | When the Man in Uniform is a Woman...
I love Jake. He would be somebody I would like to share with when I have a tough day. He's definitely all man. He is comfortable if a woman has a job where once a man is dominant in.
I enjoyed reading the The First Responders series and looking forward to many books in this series.
(Kai Wong 12:45pm August 26, 2012)
Sure we want a man with feeings but we also want him to be strong when the situation demands it. I'll take a manly man anyday.
(Kathleen Yohanna 3:26am August 26, 2012)
I love books about strong, tough men in uniforms. This new twist in "When the Man in Uniform is a Woman" sounds great!
(Edwina Cowgill 3:32am August 26, 2012)
Funny because it's always been the proverbial women melt when they
see a man in uniform but knowing my husband and various other males,
it is true when the man in a uniform is a woman. They think it's sexy too
though they may not admit it like we do!
(Vicki Hancock 4:05am August 26, 2012)
I think what we like is a manly man... strong and able to help us but also
sensitive to our feelings, not too male chauvinist. Of coz he must be able to
accept a woman in a male dominated environment and not feel threatened.
That's a real man!!!
(Winnie Lim 4:13am August 26, 2012)
Very nice. Working as a Security professional I understand the pressures and some of the senseless things that happen. Great reads.
(Pat Freely 7:40am August 26, 2012)
I think that as long as a man realize that a woman's biggest
sex organ is her brain he will succeed whether he is alpha or
(Donna Antonio 8:04am August 26, 2012)
WE all need a strong person with us, to help guide us in hard times, support us wen things are bad and be there when we need a shoulder to lean on. All of us meaning both women and men.
(Diane Sadler 8:06am August 26, 2012)
I definitely prefer a manly man, but he needs to be one who isn't threatened by a strong woman!
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 8:26am August 26, 2012)
I see woman firefighters/paramedics doing a fantastic job. I admire their work ethic. Traditional male/female roles have fallen by the wayside. In many Medical schools today,women far out number the males. I do think that all people like to feel secure. I like strong women in leadership roles. Thanks Donna!
(Laurie Gommermann 8:31am August 26, 2012)
I lOve reading about strong women...especially a women cop. And I agree,
I think the stronger and more independent you are, the more you want
those qualities in a partner.
(MeLissa Becker 8:35am August 26, 2012)
I want to win! PICK ME!!
(Pamela Faye Howell 9:05am August 26, 2012)
I haven't read any in the series. How interesting that In the Line of Duty turned out to be a HER instead of a HIM. I think it's so interesting when authors talk about how the characters make things happen.
(Catherine Lee 9:36am August 26, 2012)
I like the twist of the female cop.
(Pam Howell 9:37am August 26, 2012)
These books look great.
(Cathy Thomas 10:17am August 26, 2012)
It might say something about the way books are written and what a lot of authors think readers want, but I was surprised (pleasantly) for a moment when you said the hero cop would be a woman. I think it's a great idea, and a real point of difference.
(Michelle Donaldson 10:23am August 26, 2012)
Looks like another great book!
(Julie Parrish 10:49am August 26, 2012)
Your comments are an awesome thing to log on to today! Thanks for popping by! I have to admit, I really liked writing Kendra and Jake! :-)
(Donna Alward 10:59am August 26, 2012)
thanks for a great post! Congrats on the new release!
(Erin Fender 11:24am August 26, 2012)
donna , this sounds really good.
(Debbi Shaw 1:02pm August 26, 2012)
I like the idea of Kendra being a strong, independent cop and Jack makes a great love interest.
(Anna Speed 1:09pm August 26, 2012)
Congrats on this new release! Love the sound of this book and series!
(Colleen Conklin 1:33pm August 26, 2012)
I enjoy books with alpha male but I also think its cool when the heroine of a book is strong & has enough self confidence to be herself. This looks like a really good book.
(Chelsea Knestrick 1:40pm August 26, 2012)
I like these characters - this looks like a great book!
(Robin Daily 1:44pm August 26, 2012)
Hi Donna! In the Line of Duty sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway!
(Cathy Phillips 2:07pm August 26, 2012)
Super book with great characters. Love the Cop is a woman which gives a wonderful twist. Hope to be selected to receive this fantastic new read. Thanks for giveaway. Smile : }
(Shirley Sego 2:26pm August 26, 2012)
Great excerpt! I'm looking forward to reading the series and finding out how the scene plays out.
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 2:43pm August 26, 2012)
Sounds like a great book! i have read alot of your books. i would love to win! thanks for the giveaway!
(Kim Cornwell 2:43pm August 26, 2012)
I love exerpts they get you hooked and wanting to read more, thanks for sharing!
(Darci Paice 3:14pm August 26, 2012)
LOVE YOUR BOOKS THE ARE MARVELOUS. FIRST RESPONDERS ARE MY
FAVORITE SERIES THEY ARE THE BEST
(Shelly Caggiano 3:46pm August 26, 2012)
sounds like a good read; thanks for the draw!
(Barbara Studer 3:54pm August 26, 2012)
(Pamela Fox 4:13pm August 26, 2012)
Would like to start reading your books. Hope I win one!
(Pamela Fox 4:14pm August 26, 2012)
This series sounds super, and I'm going to have to read these. Love the storyline for In The Line Of Duty...would love to win this one!
(Linda Luinstra 4:50pm August 26, 2012)
I disagree with your brother - many women do want manly men -
that doesn't mean that the woman can't be strong & competent
(Diane Sallans 5:26pm August 26, 2012)
sounds like a great read can't wait!!!
(Jennifer Beck 5:45pm August 26, 2012)
Without first responders, I wouldn't be alive today. God bless them.
(Susan Coster 6:04pm August 26, 2012)
I like the theme of this series. Something different....
(Shari Santella 6:36pm August 26, 2012)
I would love to read this book....thanks for the chance
(Bonnie Capuano 7:02pm August 26, 2012)
What an exciting sounding series. Haven't read it yet but definitely plan to.
(Samantha Devine 8:53pm August 26, 2012)
Sounds fantastic!! Can't wait to read!!! :)
(Jill Oswalt 9:00pm August 26, 2012)
Looking forward to reading this story!
(Nancy Gallagher 9:38pm August 26, 2012)
Love your first responders series....Love to read this one...
(William Festa 9:58pm August 26, 2012)
I love the dialogue & the characters seem believable & sympathetic. Can't wait to read this story!
(Sharlene Wegner 10:00pm August 26, 2012)
This series sounds awesome! Will definitely be checking it out! :)
(Marie Haney 10:12pm August 26, 2012)
That was quite a powerful passage that you pur up for your posting!! I am definately hooked!! Now I wish that I had the book in front of me!! You have a way with words that really draws a person into a story. I felt like a "peeping Tom." In my minds' eye, I felt as if I was sitting in the room, like a fly on the wall, watching the conversation unfold between Kendra and Jake. It was very well written, and I'm sure the book will do well when it comes out in September.
(Peggy Roberson 10:20pm August 26, 2012)
Thanks for a glimpse of Kendra and Jake.
(Jan D 10:26pm August 26, 2012)
I like that you put a heroine in your story, it's a nice change. I'm looking forward to reading this series, especially since it's set in Canada.
(Lisa White 10:35pm August 26, 2012)
Thanks. :) Can't wait to get a chance to read it. :)
(Leslie Davis 10:37pm August 26, 2012)
Sounds great, I can't wait to read it.
(Rita Wray 10:37pm August 26, 2012)
I enjoy reading about strong women who can, if necessary, give power to her man. However, for me there's little more humiliating than a hen-pecked husband. I know one couple where she always tries to dominate. For the sake of peace her husband will sometimes give in, but when he makes up his mind about something, he will definitely not give in to his wife--and she knows it and gives in.
(Sigrun Schulz 11:08pm August 26, 2012)
I really like this idea of a sexy woman in uniform.
(Sue Farrell 11:25pm August 26, 2012)
Great excerpt. I cant wait to read more.
(Donna Simmonds 11:27pm August 26, 2012)
Books sound great. love a Manly Man. Hope I win.
(Linda Hall 11:37pm August 26, 2012)
First, this series looks excellent. I've only read one of your other books. I wasn't aware of this series. Now on my must read list.
Second, Your brother-in-law is everybit at clueless as most men these days. Your excerpt shows you are writing to teach them more of the internal map of the female mind. I will enjoy following your flourishing career. jean
(Bj Maxwell 11:39pm August 26, 2012)
Thanks for giving me a chance to win your book. Sounds very interesting.
(Amy Milne 11:43pm August 26, 2012)
Thanks for the chance to win! Sounds like a really good read!!
(Natasha Donohoo 3:10am August 27, 2012)
I know a young lady who is a firefighter and paramedic. Her family are so proud and I believe she is a great role model for young women.
(Clare O'Beara 5:00am August 27, 2012)
Need to read this, and would love to win, I will also have to get the first one too, thanks... email@example.com
(Linda Scarchuk 7:04am August 27, 2012)
I like a strong will man even though I can do alot of things myself, but its nice for a man to help and to show his feelings towards a woman. I'd love to win this book to read-love your books!
(Carole Fiore 8:09am August 27, 2012)
I disagree with your brother in law too. I want a manly man who respects that I'm not helpless.
(Anne Muller 11:29am August 27, 2012)
Wow! Loving the excerpt and I'm going to get Off the Clock today!!! Can't
(Sylvia Bull 11:38am August 27, 2012)
I do love a man in uniform but I love the idea of reading
about a heroine in uniform too. When it comes to guys I do
like a manly man but I also want someone I can talk to.
This sounds like a fab series - I've just ordered Off the
Clock but I have to confess I'm REALLY excited about Into
the Fire - you've got to love a hunky fireman!!
(Sarah Gibson 12:08pm August 27, 2012)
Sounds like a great series for me to get hooked on. I love
stories about people in uniform who do their best to protect
(Ilona Fenton 12:35pm August 27, 2012)
Loved the idea of a heroine cop for a change. Also thought the excerpt was great.
(Carol Woodruff 8:07pm August 27, 2012)
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